Most of the gear I buy (and write about) is focused on backpacking. Multi-day, overnight trips to where the focus on gear is being efficient and lightweight.

But I also love a good day hike. And the gear you "need" for a day hike is much different than a backpacking trip. In the past I had always just thrown the stuff I need in my 20L backpack I use everyday going to/from work. That worked but it wasn't ideal. 

Going on a day hike with my (at the time) 3 year old son

The main supplies you need for going on a day hike are simple: water, maybe a little food, and whatever your specific location would need (sunscreen, bug spray, warmer clothes, etc).

When the Chameleon Sports company reached out and asked if I wanted to check out their latest offering, a 2 liter hydration pack, I happily agreed. I've never owned a hydration pack before and it seemed perfect for the day hikes I take my kids on.

First Impressions

The Chameleon hydration pack looks and feels very high quality. It has a mesh netting in the front to stuff extra gear with a nice elastic drawstring you can use to tighten everything down and hold it in place.

There's also plenty of mesh over the padding on the shoulder pads and the back area to help with ventilation and keep everything dry.

It also comes with some gigantic pockets on the hip belt which is one of my favorite features. When I go backpacking I usually keep my cell phone in one so I can quickly snap a picture if animals pop up near me and use the other one for miscellaneous storage of stuff I use a lot (usually a knife).

The backpack also has nice, vibrant colors. The model I'm reviewing is the charcoal grey with orange accent model but it also comes in black with blue accents. 

Other than the hip belt pockets, this pack looks like any other backpack and wouldn't look out of place in an office.

Inside the Pack

The backpack has several zippered storage areas to store your gear. This backpack is pretty small and is only meant for day hikes. You'd be hard pressed to fit a sleeping bag and pad inside this pack unless they were pretty small. I wouldn't recommend taking this on any overnight trips.

The hydration pack that fits inside the backpack is 2 liters. It comes with a quick disconnect fitting on the hydration bladder and the mouthpiece of the tubing. This makes it easy to quickly disassemble and clean.

The cap for the bladder screws on and off easily and has a satisfyingly tight feeling when it's all the way closed. I tested the bladder for leaks by smushing it and putting weight on top of it and it held up perfectly fine.

The bite valve has a really nice valve on it so you don't have to worry about any leaks.

The bladder I usually take backpacking is constantly leaking and dripping on my shirt. When it's hot, it feels great. When it's cold outside, it gets old fast.

This backpack is meant for day hikes but since you can easily remove the bladder, I'm planning to take this with me on all of my backpacking trips going forward.

The shutoff valve on the tube is simple and works flawlessly. This should be a standard feature on all hydration bladders!

This picture shows the breathable shoulder straps and back. There's mesh everywhere which really helps improve air flow. My Osprey overnight pack has this same design and it's fantastic for cooling you off when the weather is warm.

This pack also has a chest strap and hip belt buckle to secure the pack to your body. This is probably overkill for a backpack of this size but it's nice to have everything locked down in place - especially after refilling your pack when you've got 2 liters of water.

Final Verdict

Overall I'm really happy with the Chameleon hydration pack. Having never owned one before I'm kind of surprised at how convenient it is. Compared to lugging around water bottles for an afternoon dayhike, the 2L bladder is super convenient and the Chameleon one is especially well designed. 

The bite valve shutoff and solid cap make this thing 100% leak proof so you don't have to worry about any of your stuff getting wet. If you're looking for something to take on a dayhike you should check out the Chameleon pack. It ticks all the boxes and comes in at a reasonable price. I'd recommend getting the larger size (which is the one I reviewed). It doesn't weigh much more and you'll appreciate the additional space, especially if you take your kids hiking with you!